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Nurturing truth and righteousness

I started watching season one of Bones on hulu.com a few months ago.  What triggered my interest was part of an episode I saw on television one evening where Bones and another one of the characters talked quite a bit about God and faith.  If you haven’t seen the show, “Bones” is the name of one of the two principal characters, Dr. Temperance Brennan.  She is a forensic anthropologist, best-selling author, and totally locked into a world-view that if truth isn’t scientifically demonstrable, it doesn’t exist. 

The other main character is Seeley Booth, an agent with the FBI and professed believer (though unfortunately it isn’t always evident from his lifestyle).  In the shows I’ve watched (I’m just finishing the first season), he and Bones occasionally go back and forth on the subject of God in a non-confrontational, semi-productive sort of way. 

Bones is a person of integrity.  Although she isn’t a believer, there is nothing flippant or irreverent about her unbelief.  In fact, she is a seeker of truth of all kinds and is forever saying, “I don’t know what that means.”  When something is explained to her, she displays a teachable spirit.  No, her problem with belief seems to be the same one Thomas had (John 20:24-31) --- she operates under a closed empirical system.  If she can’t “see it,” she doesn’t believe it.  That’s the way she has to operate in her profession, so she doesn’t understand anything else. 

There’s also a real nobility about her.  Her parents deserted here when she was in her teens and she ended up in the foster system for a time.  This is part of what fuels her passion for her work and the compassion she displays for the people whose bodies she works on.  She doesn’t want anyone to be “lost” (i.e., unidentified) and therefore separated from their loved ones in death.  The following quotes give you a feel for her character.

*      I see a face on every skull. I can look at their bones and tell you how they walked, where they hurt. Maggie Schilling is real to me. The pain she suffered was real . . .


*      We all share in the death of every human being.  We all share DNA. When I look at a bone it's not some artifact that I can separate from myself. It's a part of a person who got here the same way I did.


*      Bones and Booth interviewing a plastic surgeon who had performed multiple surgeries on a young woman obsessed with her appearance. 

Bones:  I feel we should be arresting these doctors because, whether they killed her or not, they still erased her.” 

Booth:  She thinks what you do is . . . “

Bones:  Barbaric.”

Bones:  What this young woman did to herself.  It’s as if she completely removed her own identity.  Who hates herself so much that she not only changes her looks, but her core architecture?”

Plastic surgeon:  And I did not kill Rachel.  I made her beautiful.”

Bones:  You mean you took what was unique and particular about her, and destroyed it.” 

I think you get the idea.  Her perspective on people is refreshing and a good reminder to the Christian community that we don’t own the copyright to caring.  Like many of the Gentiles Jesus encountered and praised (Matthew 8:5ff; Mark 7:24ff), there is much that is praiseworthy about her character.*  And if we are serious about being like Jesus, we will acknowledge and nurture truth and righteousness wherever we come across it.

Even on a television show.
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*  Bones' promiscuity in subsequent episodes/seasons, are disappointing, as is the hyper-sexualized dialogue that takes place among the lab assistants.  Unlike other shows (the Law & Order or Monk), Bones follows the crowd by implying that men and women cannot work together with being sexually involved.